Pacific Banking Forum Tackles Key Regional Relations

The Australian and United States Governments co-hosted the Pacific Banking Forum on July 8-9, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. This pivotal event convened key stakeholders to address the pressing issue of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) from the Pacific region.

The forum aimed to secure commitments and develop strategies to mitigate the impact of de-risking, which has led to the reduction of CBRs, posing significant challenges to the financial stability and economic growth of Pacific Island nations. Focussing on critical issues such as de-risking and the future of CBRs, which have been subjects of ongoing deliberation in recent years, Australian Treasurer, The Hon. Dr Jim Chalmers stated in his address that:

"The key to any lasting solution to the decline of services is rebuilding robust financial markets infrastructure across all Pacific nations."

Australia has pledged A$6.3 million more for the Pacific to develop secure digital identity infrastructure and enhance compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing requirements.

Dr Parmendra Sharma, a prominent figure in the field and Program Director of the Pacific Island Centre for Development Policy and Research (PICDPR) was invited to participate in the Forum. His inclusion underscores the importance of PICDPR's work in the region. The invitation, extended by The Hon. Jim Chalmers, Federal Treasurer of Australia, and the Hon. Janet Yellen, US Secretary of the Treasury, highlights the ongoing commitment of both governments to support the Pacific's financial sector and the importance of the PICDPR program.

High-level attendees, speakers and panellists from across the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific participated in the two-day deliberations to seek practical solutions for the Pacific. Distinguished guests included His Excellency the Hon. David Adeang, President of Nauru. The Hon. Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands. Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Baron Waqa, and Excellencies, Hon. Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and senior officials from all over the Pacific.

Dr Sharma remarked on the significance of this recognition, noting,

"To be part of such a distinguished gathering of international institutions and dignitaries is a great accomplishment for our program and Griffith University. This forum provides an excellent opportunity to deepen existing partnerships and explore new collaborations."

Federal Treasury's increased interest in PICDPR's work was evident earlier this year when they inaugurated the Pacific Seminar Series. During the Pacific Governors meeting last December, senior Treasury officials expressed keen interest in PICDPR's capacity development program.

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